By Josh Lederman - 03/26/12 02:05 PM EDT
Martin Sheen is lending his name to Democratic efforts to retake the House, blasting congressional Republicans in a campaign video timed to coincide with a renewed fight over healthcare costs.
Sheen, who played the popular Democratic President Josiah Bartlett on NBC’s “The West Wing,” cut the video for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which said it was released as part of its “Stand Up for Medicare” push.
“When President Obama stepped onto the stage, our nation was in crisis, on the brink of a global economic meltdown,” Sheen says in the ad. “There were cynics and partisans who stood against him — not out of principle or patriotism, but simply so he’d fail.”
“Tell them to keep their hands off America, and tell them in our America, the cynics and fear-mongers, the ones who break a sacred promise simply to reward the wealthy, don’t get the final word,” he says. “No, no. You do.”
Sheen has appeared on behalf of liberal causes before, promoting environmental groups and joining anti-war efforts. Hoping to draw on the popularity of his onscreen political persona, groups from time to time have reportedly tried, unsuccessfully, to recruit Sheen to run for political office.
Healthcare reform and the costs of programs such as Medicare and Medicaid have returned to the forefront of public debate this month for a number of reasons. The Supreme Court begins arguments Monday on the constitutionality of President Obama’s healthcare reforms. And with the release last week of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget proposal, Republicans are hoping that unlike last year, they can keep it from being portrayed as an attack on Medicare.